Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Review
Even if you are an expert, it would take more time to solve a classic Rubik’s cube than to think of which company excels in making budget cars in India with an obvious reply being Maruti Suzuki. Selling cars to multiple generations, they have been flexible to incorporate the latest in every form and also make it easily accessible.
The Alto, which has been selling amazingly since its debut in 2000, is offered in two versions namely the Alto 800 and the Alto K10. While the former replaced the iconic 800, the latter was for those who were looking for a more powerful way to commute. After 4 years of its successful run, the K10 has got a trendy makeover in the form of refreshed looks, upmarket interiors and an even more efficient engine but the list doesn’t end there.
They have made the new Alto K10 a lot more convenient than before by adding an automated variant. Gone are the days of endless number of shifts in city as the new automated transmission takes charge. At a smidgen over Rs. 4 Lakhs, it is the most affordable automatic car in the world. How does it feel to measure a city in it? We tell you in our review.
Modern Entry level cars have moved on from the notion of looking basic providing only the bare essentials to justify its price tag. The new age Maruti Suzuki cars endorse the same with a modern approach. While the previous generation Alto K10 looked dated, the new version looks trendy with characteristic design lines.
They have finally managed to wake up the new K10 by giving it wide awake large headlights. The larger profile of the lights makes it look better and more functional with a wider illumination. The lights get a dash of chrome detailing inside. The ends of the radiator grille have been brought closer giving it a smaller and wider stance. The signature ‘S’ logo sits firmly on the chrome grille. The front bumper layout has been kept clean with neat contours. The top of the line VXi(O) MT variant also gets fog lamps as standard fitment.
You can possibly mistake it for the younger 800 at one glance as both these cars share the same height and width except the K10 is longer by 150mm. The characteristic shoulder line flows from the front wheel arch to the tail lamp giving a strong profile. The B-Pillars have been masked with the help of blackened tape to showcase a larger glass area. It is again the premium variant which gets body colours exterior mirrors while rest of the variants get standard finished ORVMs both of which can be adjusted internally.
Both VXi and VXi (O) get multi spoke wheel caps. All variants come with standard 155/65 R13 tyres. We definitely recommend replacing the stock steel wheels with alloy wheels as the latter will give a sporty look. There are side body protectors on all variants.
It looks taller in ride stance when seen from rear. The rear tail door has been designed to give a wider car feel by not actually being so. The windshield is just about of sufficient size to manoeuvre the car in reverse. It also gets new rear combination lamps which look impressive. The rear bumper has been kept simple with subtle sections and creases to match with the overall design.
Asking for premium feeling interiors in a car which is priced between Rs 3.5 lakhs to Rs 4.5 lakhs will surely get you wrong looks but seriously if you step inside this revised Alto K10, you would feel impressed for sure as Maruti Suzuki has pushed the envelope further. They have made the interiors feel more engaging.
There is a new instrumental cluster which gets lucid and clean digits done in shades of white and orange. It displays trip as well as odometer readings in a digital format. In addition, the manual variants of VXi and VXi (O) get a shift up indicator whereas the automated VXI variant gets a gear shift digital display which alerts the driver if the car is in manual/auto mode.
Shift a bit behind from the updated instrumental cluster and then you would see the revised setup which includes a new steering wheel, dual tone texture and also a central console unlike any other budget Maruti car, which you have driven earlier. No exaggeration at all, they have complimented the central console in a piano black finish. It looks extremely neat and very very upmarket. The glossy console dominates the central zone with an array of soft touch buttons surrounding a rotary knob. The fit and finish of these buttons and knob are impressive.
The tech savvy kinds can play around with multiple entertainment options like USB, AUX, CD-MP3 and radio. If only the stock system offered Bluetooth as well, perhaps that’s me being extremely greedy. It gets a 2-Speaker setup with a satisfying playback quality. You can set the desired bas/treble with the help of the rotary knob located at the centre. The slender screen looks similar to that on Honda cars again a big compliment for Maruti Suzuki.
It might sound very generic but the Japanese Haikeis know how to make cars extremely convenient for occupants. The new iteration is taller by 15mm and wider by 15mm, which makes the cabin feel airy. The front row seats with a taller hip location are not a recommend for taller passengers.
For the average heighted, this is no problem at all. The rear passengers too have nothing to complain as Maruti has cleverly chucked out a portion from the back of front seats freeing some knee room for rear passengers. If they too are taller, their knees would definitely poke the front passengers.
There front door pockets can hold a file while the rear doors get no storage pockets. Something which is more discomforting is the absence of cup holders in the automated variant and the entire blame for it goes to the AMT unit. The MT variant owners can laugh on the AT ones as they can keep their beverage cups just behind the manual shift stick. Also, you might like to keep the K10 in city limits as it has a boot space of 177L which is less than that of its immediate rival the Hyundai Eon. Though the latter has a complicated opening compared to that of K10 which has a generously wide area to load luggage with a lower positioned rear bumper.
Take a piece of paper and jot down all the points that make a perfect city car. It has to be small in dimensions which come in handy when you want to reach an ATM or park anywhere convenient. It has to feel nice inside as those long traffic jams leave you strapped inside for really and boringly long. The seats should be comfortable. It should pack in daily luggage with great ease. Lastly, should be highly efficient as you would not want those long drives to burn a deep hole in your pocket. You can do the necessary math of all these points and the summation of everything has to be a Maruti Suzuki hatch.
In the scheme of challenging ourselves, we made sure we took new Alto K10 to every possible busy traffic junction in Mumbai that too during peak traffic hours. To aid our spirited aim, we had the AMT variant. Understandably, for the ones who have never driven an automatic car, it is puzzling to know if it’s as easy as driving a manual shift car. Well...it is way wayyy easier than driving a manual shift car. Just one gentle shift to D-mode and it’s all about shuffling between the throttle and brakes.
At the heart of the matter, the new Alto K10 is powered by a revised 998cc K-Next engine. This unit makes 68 PS of power at 6000 rpm and produces a peak torque of 90Nm. It is offered with a standard 5-Speed manual transmission along with an automated gear shift variant. The Auto shifts proved to be a boon inside city traffic as they are quick to gauge the throttle need and shift accordingly.
Drive it with a steady foot and the shifts happen smoothly. It progresses from the first to second at an engine speed of 2500 to 3000 rpm. The same band is repeated if the throttle response is increased gradually. It is only the initial shift where a mild lag is experienced but as the engine makes up sufficient speed, the transmission too works at tandem. If driven with a heavy foot, the shifting points of the transmission are shifted to higher points making the engine breathe longer between shifts to produce a greater power delivery. This is useful during overtaking.
Shifting from automated to manual mode takes place in a jiffy. In the manual mode, the engine holds on to higher speeds reaching a peak of 6000rpm. This takes care of spirited style of driving with a quick downshift availing a wide range of engine speed. The downshifts in particular happen without any hassle. The up shifts aren’t as smooth but do their job in shifting to lower gears as soon as the engine speed drops.
They have shortened the length of this one and thus the nose can be easily turned easily. The steering wheel feels light and nimble. Be it driving through lanes dodging cars, cycles, bikes and anything that comes your way, this car can do it well without whirling your head. In any case, there are ventilated front disc brakes which come standard on all variants. To improve its ride and handling, gas filled dampers have been deployed.
There is only one spoiler which cuts down all the enthusiasm. The 155/65 R13 tyres aren’t the best when it comes down to gripping. They work just fine inside the city but on a longer stretch at higher speeds, they can’t keep up with the peppy engine. These tyres feel a tad small compared to the ideal ones leaving a lot to expect.
With safety being the modern need, the VXi(O) gets a driver side airbag, front fog lamps, fasten seat belt indicators, 3 point ELR seat belt, key off reminder, high mount stop lamp and head lamp levelling along with engine immobilizer and rear door with child lock. For its budget, the new Alto K10 is indeed one of the nicest cars to drive and be in.
|Variant||VXI - AT|
|Power in PS/RPM||68 PS / 6000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||90 Nm / 3500|
|Gears||AGS - Automated Gear Shift|
|Wheel base mm||2360|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||755|
|Ground clearance mm||160|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35|
|Tyre Spec||155/65 R13|
|Transmission||5 MT||5 MT||5 MT||AGS||5 MT|
|Fuel Type||Petrol||Petrol, Petrol+CNG||Petrol||Petrol||Petrol|
|Sun visor (Dr + Co-Dr)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Molded door trim (side doors)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front door trim map pockets||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Assist grips (Co-Dr + Rear)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cabin light (3-position)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Floor console Cup holder||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Rear Console Bottle Holders||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Instrument panel tray||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear parcel tray||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|B Pillar trim||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|C Pillar trim||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Piano Black Finish I/P Center Garnish||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Silver accent (side louvers, steering wheel, inside door handle, console garnish ring, panel instrument cluster garnish, door trim armrest)||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||VXI - AT||1.0 Kappa Magna +||D1|
|Power in PS/RPM||68 PS / 6000||68 / 6200||67 / 5000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||90 Nm / 3500||94 / 3500||104 / 4000|
|Gears||5 AT - Automated Gear Shift||5 MT||5 MT|
|Wheel base mm||2360||2380||2450|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||755||NA||NA|
|Ground clearance mm||160||NA||170|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35||32||35|
|Tyre Spec||155/65 R13||155 / 70 R15||155/70R13|
Maruti Suzuki has sold over 26 lakh units of Brand Alto (Alto800 and Alto K10), cumulatively with over 4.3 lakh units of Alto K10 sold in the last four years. The new gen Alto K10 will also be exported to Latin America and Africa.
Impressive is the fact that being one of India’s earliest car manufacturers, Maruti Suzuki has kept in sync with modern trends. Even for this car, they have taken each possible measure to bring down its weight and minimise the frictional losses to make the engine highly fuel efficient improving it by 15% compared to the earlier model.
The reduction in kerb weight was done by the use of use of low drag brake caliper, high tensile steel, lightening of the engine unit by re-designing engine and use of light weight material in engine auxiliaries. It also challenges the conventional thinking of an AT being lower in efficiency compared to its manual counterpart as both the variants deliver an impressive 24.07kmpl.
To conclude, if you love measuring the length and width of your city and want a convenient method to do so, the new Alto K10 is worth every penny spent making it a strong city hatch.